OBV Profile: Shaun Bailey

“I have no political background but that hasn’t stopped me. My involvement and passion for social issues has driven me towards politics, that’s why I have a unique knowledge about the issues faced by communities today,” he says.

Two months have passed since Bailey, 35, was selected to be a Conservative parliamentary candidate for Hammersmith, an area which he has high hopes for.

He says that his campaign will be “about a redefinition of conservatism”, giving attention and focus to issues surrounding families and peoples responsibilities to their families.

Explaining why he joined the Conservative Party, he says: “The party has a completely different ethos. Their ethos is about entrepreneurial behaviour. It’s about social mobility; it’s about trusting you to look after your own and insisting you look after your own. It’s about helping you do what it is you want to achieve.”

For the past six years Bailey has worked as a youth worker, presently working for an organisation in West London.

Aside to this, he is director and founder of the organisation, My Generation. The company, founded a year ago, focuses on the development of communities by addressing issues such as employment and creating opportunities. At the moment, they are running a project with the British Schools Exploring Society where they will be taking a group of young boys to Madagascar for six weeks to do scientific study.

Bailey also writes for a number of newspapers and for the research think tank, Central Policy for Studies (CPS). It was at the CPS where a researcher encouraged him to get involved in politics.

He explains: “The researcher suggested to me that if I have such a passion for people I should find a way of tackling those issues on a larger scale. He said one of the real ways to make a difference to the nation is to get involved in politics.”

The married father of an eight-month-old daughter claims that under Tory leader, David Cameron, it has become more possible for people like himself to put themselves forward for such positions, something that he would have never considered before.

Bailey reveals: “I’ve lived in Hammersmith for years – throughout my tender years. It’s an urban seat, a place I understand. The situations that take place in Hammersmith are what I understand, what I know and what I want to be part of resolving.”

As a youngster Bailey was and still is today extremely proactive. At the age of 14 he became a member of the Childs Hill Gymnastic Club, entering many national and international competitions. He now acts as a coach and this summer he will go to Austria as a lead adult to help the British Gymnastics Association in the sports festival, Gymnaestrada.

From the age of 12, for 15 years, he was also a member of the White City Army Cadets, a parachute regiment.

Bailey, of Jamaican parentage, was born in Paddington, and spent his formative years growing up in Hammersmith and Fulham.

He grew up raised by his mother in a lone parent household, but came from a big supportive family. He explains: “I didn’t realise some of the hardships we faced such as poverty because we had such a good upbringing. It’s only when I left secondary school that I realised.”

As a youngster he says that luckily he was able to steer himself away from crime. Whereas he says he was disappointed to see how so many of his friends got involved in crime, drugs or were sectioned into mental health institutions.

After working in various temp positions from sweeping factories to working on a building site, Bailey completed a degree in Computer Aided Engineering at South Bank University at the age of 27.

It was during these times that he was introduced to youth work by his best friend’s father, who he regards as a great youth worker. Bailey said that it was his friend’s father that advised him to take up youth work because “he said I would gain a lot of personal satisfaction from it”.

His defining political memory was when he started to believe that the Conservative Party were changing, “They’ve had 10 years in opposition and now they’re learning and marching back towards relevance,” he says.

Bailey has a lot of hopes for the future. He says that one of the most important things for him is to keep My Generation going because it has become an important focal point for people in the community who are involved in it.

If he gets elected to represent Hammersmith he hopes to build the borough into an area that works in an urban environment. He plans to address issues of employment, education and encourage home ownership.

He adds: “To get elected would be a massively important role for me. I am a Black man who comes from an ordinary Black Caribbean British background – I just want to say to Black people that we have so much to offer, look at me. Understand that Black or white, we ordinary folks can get involved at a very high level.”